Isabella Marie - My Miracle

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Both our children were conceived through the help of infertility treatments. Our son, Dominic, was born at 40-weeks, with little complications and continues to grow into a strong and healthy young man. He is 3 years and 6 months older than his much smaller, more delicate, premature sister.

Our daughter who was not supposed to live survived the miscarriage that took her two siblings. Isabella was born at 28-weeks weighing only 1lb 4.8oz and 11 1/2 inches long. Hard to imagine; think of your average water bottle and that was the tiny baby girl I gave birth to on October 1, 2003. She was one of triplets and the only to survive the first trimester.

At the point of my 24-week, I started to "not feel well". Couldn't really say what was wrong, but I still had not gained any weight and was having cramps. So, I called my OBGYN and went in to what was wrong. He demanded I was to return once a week and have 26-week ultra-sound.

So, at 26-weeks, I went in for my ultra-sound and just by the look on the tech's face, I knew we had a problem. The technician proceeded to bring in another tech and then a doctor. I was then told that my little girl was not growing and there was not enough amniotic fluid to carry her to full term. I had to get to the hospital "now". The doctor's preferred method was by helicopter, but ambulance was fine too.

However, I had my son with me and we were two blocks from the hospital to my husband and I chose to drive to the hospital. I called my mom and my son's Godfather and they met us at the hospital.

The perinatologist, NICU doctor on call, nurse, my mom and husband, and I were rushed into a room and I was immediately put on monitors. The doctors explained that if Isabella was born "today" she would not survive the deliver. But, for everyday she stayed in the womb, it gave her an extra 5% chance at life, and life without complications; the down side, it put my life at risk, because my heart, kidneys, brain and lungs were all shutting down.

The doctors stated they would give me a shot to help her under-developed lungs start to develop at a faster pace, the shots would be a 3-day process. I agreed. The doctors goal was to get me to 28-weeks. At 28-weeks, her chances for survival went up to above 85%, but possibly with complications for Isabella. The danger was for me at that point. With my body shutting down, 28-weeks might kill me. After discussion with my husband, we agreed to take that chance. I was admitted to Banner Desert Hospital perinatologist department.

On the first day of my 28-week I crashed. Once they revived me, they had me sign the papers for a crash c-section. Isabella Marie was born on Oct. 1, 2003, weighing 20oz and 11 1/2in.

She was only on C-pap for 24 hours; then on room air. She did develop an infection and had to have two blood transfusions. We opted to do direct to donor. My husband's mother donated to her. She never developed ROP or brain bleeds. She stayed in the NICU for 10-weeks instead of the full 12-weeks.

As for me, well, the doctors figured out I had HELLP syndrome. Apparently, it is very rare to have with the second child, normally it occurs with the first pregnancy/child. I was also told since both my kids were conceived through infertility and due to the toll this pregnancy took on my body; it was the consensus of the doctors that I should not attempt another pregnancy. “The next pregnancy could kill me,” were my doctor’s exact words.

By this point, Isabella was breast-feeding at 1-week after birth even with a feeding tube. After that feeding tube was taken out, she was strictly on breast milk, never formula. I increased my calorie intake to make sure she had the extra fat and they gave us vitamins to add to the breast milk, but only once a day was she given a bottle.

However, we did bring her home and found out she had conductive loss of hearing in her left ear. Even though we continued with her PT, we took her to a ENT for children. Our doctor was amazing. He cleaned out the remaining vernix in her ears, and since she was so small, it didn't clear itself out. Then he proceeded to put in what would be the first set of 3, tubes in her ears. From that day forward she has always had perfect hearing.

Daily I worked her muscles with massages, therapy and reading. Our miracle is now at the end of first grade and so beautiful and still little. She takes tumbling and plays indoor soccer. She loves to sing and shop and read. Her brother is her biggest protector. Isabella has completed our family. We are thankful to all the people who prayed for her and our family.

Now, we walk at March for Babies every year to give back. My husband and I volunteer at Nurse's Gala and the annual fundraiser every year. We want to help others understand what having a preemie means, doctors, nurses, and parents.

 As of today, we still mourn the loss of our other two babies, gone at 6-weeks. I my heart, they were a boy and girl. We’ve named them Isaac Andrew and Lauren Elena. We pray for them and love them and miss them. But, I know they gave their lives and spirit and strength so that Isabella could be with us today.


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